Road budget and school aid vetoed by Michigan governor

Oct 1, 2019

Michigan state's Capitol resides in Lansing.
Credit MPRN

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed all of the state’s budgets for the new spending year — and used a lot of red ink in the process.

One of the many items Whitmer said “no” to was millions of dollars in one-time funding toward the state’s roads. She also vetoed the School Aid budget.

Whitmer says she had to make the 147 line-item vetoes to protect Michigan residents. In a recorded statement on Instagram, Whitmer said the budgets sent to her by the Republican controlled Legislature were, “Built on phony numbers, using funds in the wrong way, usurping executive power. These are important things that I had to eliminate from these budgets.”

Democratic Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) supports the veto. He says Republicans have been throwing insufficient money at roads for years, and it’s not working. Moss says the state can’t keep putting short term money toward a long-term problem.

“A veto of $375 million is not significant when we face a $2.5 billion dollar problem,” he said in an interview. “It would literally leave the same potholes intact that people drive over every day.”

Whitmer had called for a long-term road funding plan to put more than $2 billion toward the roads, but negotiations broke down. Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said in a statement that he hopes Whitmer will now come back to the negotiating table.

“This budget impasse was silly and completely avoidable,” Chatfield said in the statement. “Instead of working this out together, the governor decided to play political games and walk away from negotiations. Her tactics wasted everybody’s time and manufactured a crisis out of thin air. I hope it was worth it.”

Whitmer also line-item vetoed more than $128 million in spending in the School Aid budget. She said in a statement that the vetoes “include legislative pork barrel spending that steal precious classroom dollars and instead hands it out to commercial vendors.”

Whitmer has yet to release a detailed list of all the line-item vetoes.

Whitmer likely isn’t done with reworking the budget. The State Administrative Board is made up of fellow Democrats and members of Whitmer’s administration. It’s scheduled to meet Tuesday morning. That board has the power to move money around within departments without approval of the Legislature.